Heartbreak Hotel (Alex Delaware #32) by Jonathan Kellerman

Book Description:

Published: February 14, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis investigate the death of Alex’s most mysterious patient to date in the sensational new thriller from the master of suspense, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman.

At nearly one hundred years old, Thalia Mars is a far cry from the patients that child psychologist Alex Delaware normally treats. But the charming, witty woman convinces Alex to meet with her in a suite at the Aventura, a luxury hotel with a checkered history.

What Thalia wants from Alex are answers to unsettling questions—about guilt, patterns of criminal behavior, victim selection. When Alex asks the reason for her morbid fascination, Thalia promises to tell all during their next session. But when he shows up the following morning, he is met with silence: Thalia is dead in her room.

When questions arise about how Thalia perished, Alex and homicide detective Milo Sturgis must peel back the layers of a fascinating but elusive woman’s life and embark on one of the most baffling investigations either of them has ever experienced. For Thalia Mars is a victim like no other, an enigma who harbored nearly a century of secrets and whose life and death draw those around her into a vortex of violence.
Review –
“Heartbreak Hotel is the thirty-second Alex Delaware novel Jonathan Kellerman has written. He learned early in his career that child psychologist Delaware and his police investigator buddy Milo Sturgis make a winning team. Over the years there have been good Delaware stories and some that are not as good. Heartbreak Hotel is one of the best.

The novel starts with Alex being contacted by a woman named Thalia Mars. Since he is a child psychologist he rarely takes on adults as clients, and Thalia is very adult. She is ninety-nine years old with her one hundredth birthday coming in three weeks. Still there is something about her that piques Delaware’s interest so he agrees to meet with her. Nothing much happens in that meeting but the next day things get a lot more interesting. Delaware gets involved in a murder case that sends him and Milo reeling.

The circumstances of the murder and the body count that follows requires some step by step investigating by Milo, who takes Alex along for the ride and his expertise. It is a painfully slow process for them but due to the writing expertise of Kellerman, it is a fast trip for the reader. Each investigative fact the duo uncovers is another building block in the case against the murderer. Some of the evidence and background information is found by Milo, but a good amount is also found by Alex.

Kellerman is the kind of writer who wants to make sure the reader knows the scenery of the places where the plot develops. He describes what each character is wearing, what they look like, even how they move. Then for good measure he tells you about the furniture in the places where they live or work. He describes the architecture in specifics and doesn’t miss a detail when giving you the lay of the land.

Sometimes this attention to detail is a bit too much but Kellerman is so good at describing everything you have to give him a little leeway. In the end it all pays off because as you finish the pages you feel you have seen a movie in your head. Plus you have images of the characters that linger in your mind along with the plot.

In Heartbreak Hotel, Jonathan Kellerman has created another compelling murder mystery. You get the insider’s view from Milo Sturgis’ vantage point, and the outsider’s view from Delaware’s. It is one of the best novels Kellerman has written in a couple of years and it renews your faith in his enduring talent.” by Jackie K. Cooper (couldn’t have said it better myself)

I highly recommend this book.

 

Breakdown (Alex Delaware #31) by Jonathan Kellerman

Book Description:

Published: February 2, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Psychologist sleuth Alex Delaware is surprised to get the call when well-known TV actress Zelda Chase turns up half-naked, half-mad in the LA’s rural Westside. He has little connection to the starlet, save a psychiatric evaluation he performed on her adopted son several years ago, a child who has since vanished without a trace and whom Zelda refuses to talk about. When the actress turns up dead a few weeks later without a scratch on her, Delaware calls in police lieutenant Milo Sturgis to help him crack the case—or at least the wall of silence surrounding it. When the body of a second actress turns up with the same mysterious cause of death, Delaware and Sturgis start to wonder—is this a copycat case or a coincidence? When they uncover the death of another actress, a star from another era who vanished decades ago, never to be found, they realize they’re facing one of their most baffling, mind-bending cases yet.

Review –

Kellerman offers up a slightly different Alex Delaware in this outing, a slightly obsessed one  and the plot – thankfully – kept me guessing. I say  – thankfully – because the last few have been a bit predictable.

This storyline  is mostly an interesting one, although a tad convoluted . But the author also introduces a few threads, which all tie up in a fairly surprising way at the end; but I was kept guessing and keen to understand Zelda’s fate so was pulled into the unfolding story.

I’m hoping Kellerman keeps throwing a few curve balls at his lead characters as this was an improvement on its predecessor and a very  enjoyable read/listen.

A Cold Heart (Alex Delaware #17) by Jonathan Kellerman

Book Description:

Published: December 30, 2003

Format: Audio/OverDrive

LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis summons his friend, psychologist-sleuth Alex Delaware, to a trendy gallery where a promising young artist has been brutally garroted on the night of her first major showing. The details of the murder scene immediately suggest to Alex not an impulsive crime of passion, but the meticulous and taunting modus operandi of a serial killer.

Delaware’s suspicions are borne out when he and Milo find there’s a link between the artist’s death and the murder of a noted blues guitarist. The twisting trail leads from halfway houses to palatial mansions, and from a college campus to the last place Alex ever expected: the doorstep of his ex-lover Robin Castagna. As more killings are discovered, unraveling the maddening puzzle assumes a chilling new importance — stopping a vicious psychopath who’s made cold-blood murder his chosen art form.

Review –

I’m finding more and more of this series, Alex Delaware, that I haven’t read or listened to but I was disappointed with this one.

It’s a bit on the boring side and predictable to boot. The identity of the killer is a little too easy to guess and the action packed ending a tad too obvious. All in all, not the authors’ best work.

 

 

Killer (Alex Delaware #29) by Jonathan Kellerman

Book Description:

Published: February 11, 2014

The City of Angels has more than its share of psychopaths, and no one recognizes that more acutely than the brilliant psychologist and police consultant Dr. Alex Delaware. Despite that, Constance Sykes, a sophisticated, successful physician, hardly seems like someone Alex needs to fear. Then, at the behest of the court, he becomes embroiled in a bizarre child custody dispute initiated by Connie against her sister and begins to realize that there is much about the siblings he has failed to comprehend. And when the court battle between the Sykes sisters erupts into cold, calculating murder and a rapidly growing number of victims, Alex knows he’s been snared in a toxic web of pathology.

Nothing would please Alex more than to be free of the ugly spectacle known as Sykes v. Sykes. But then the little girl at the center of the vicious dispute disappears and Alex knows he must work with longtime friend Detective Milo Sturgis, braving an obstacle course of Hollywood washouts, gangbangers, and self-serving jurists in order to save an innocent life.

Review –

Next to Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch character Alex Delaware is a favorite of mine and I was excited to listen to this book. Some of the reviews I read said it didn’t live up to the standards of earlier books but I don’t let reviews influence my judgement one wy or another so I’m here to tell you-this is a great piece of writing!

Alex goes back to his roots as a child psychologist to assist in a child custody battle between the mother of a six-teen month old and her rich sister. What starts out as a court case ends up in a murder investigation and involves several minor characters. It was a twist I didn’t see coming.  I loved it!

If you’ve never read any of the Alex Delaware series please do but read them in order.  This one is number twenty-nine.  You won’t be sorry.

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Mystery (Alex Delaware #26) by Jonathan Kellerman

Book Description:

Published: March 29, 2011

Few know the city of Los Angeles the way #1 bestselling author and acclaimed suspense master Jonathan Kellerman does. His thrilling novels of psychological drama and criminal detection make the capital of dreams a living, breathing character in all its glamour and infamy. That storied history of fame, seduction, scandal, and murder looms large in Mystery, as Alex Delaware finds himself drawn into a twisting, shadowy whodunit that’s pure L.A. noir—and vintage Kellerman.

The closing of their favorite romantic rendezvous, the Fauborg Hotel in Beverly Hills, is a sad occasion for longtime patrons Alex Delaware and Robin Castagna. And gathering one last time with their fellow faithful habitués for cocktails in the gracious old venue makes for a bittersweet evening. But even more poignant is a striking young woman—alone and enigmatic among the revelers—waiting in vain in elegant attire and dark glasses that do nothing to conceal her melancholy. Alex can’t help wondering what her story is, and whether she’s connected to the silent, black-suited bodyguard lingering outside the hotel.

Two days later, Alex has even more to contemplate when police detective Milo Sturgis comes seeking his psychologist comrade’s insights about a grisly homicide. To Alex’s shock, the brutalized victim is the same beautiful woman whose lonely hours sipping champagne at the Fauborg may have been her last.

But with a mutilated body and no DNA match, she remains as mysterious in death as she seemed in life. And even when a tipster’s sordid revelation finally cracks the case open, the dark secrets that spill out could make Alex and Milo’s best efforts to close this horrific crime not just impossible but fatal.

Review –
Next to Harry Bosch, a character created  by author Michael Connelly, Alex Delaware, is my favorite crime fiction character.

“The book’s title refers to one of the victim’s aliases. Unidentified for much of the book, she could be a princess or a porn star, or anything in between. An anonymous tip (another deus ex machina contribution to the novel) sends Alex and Lieutenant Milo Sturgis to a web service that sets up sugar daddies with young women (“sweeties”) looking for someone to take care of them. The trail leads to love nests, rehab centers, various houses, a car leasing agency, a clinic that tests for venereal diseases and a wealthy, dysfunctional family with a few skeletons in the closet, all providing more than a novel’s worth of potential suspects.

Though Milo shows up occasionally, usually in time for a huge meal, and there are the obligatory cameos by characters from Kellerman’s other series, much of the detecting in Mystery is done by Alex himself, and most of that using search engines. Milo’s impressive success rate for homicides grants him a certain amount of latitude, but his rank requires him to attend meetings that pull him away from the investigation. Alex has become his de facto partner, though his affiliation with the police is nebulous. That doesn’t stop him from stretching the truth, implying a much more formal arrangement. He uses this to pressure witnesses, suspects and even police department employees into violating confidences, while strictly maintaining his own. 

When his long-time companion Robin volunteers to go on a stake out with him, Alex tells her she’ll be bored. That doesn’t discourage her—and her presence actually helps him with his cover—but it’s clear that she cramps his style. He’s a lone wolf who willingly throws himself into dangerous situations without any consideration for how that might impact others. He could probably do with a little time on the couch having his own psyche and motives analyzed. Though Alex and Robin briefly process what happens between them after they get home, it feels like a missed opportunity to develop their relationship.” by Bev Vincent, Onyx Reviews

I had the audio book and loved every minute of it.

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The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

Book Description:

Published: August 18, 2015

#1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense Jonathan Kellerman delivers a riveting standalone thriller featuring the unforgettable Grace Blades. Master psychologist by day, seductive adrenaline junkie by night, Grace has a very dark past—one that’s about to bleed into a terrifying present.

Review –

Five stars *****

Alex Delaware move over and make room for Grace Blades!  

Jonathan Keller has hit a home run with his new stand alone novel about Dr. Grace Blades, a psychologist who works with troubled souls who  have experienced  great loss in their lives and are trying to deal with it. She also likes to “leap” occasionally and pick up  strange men for a one night stand and she likes to do dangerous things like driving 120 mph with her eyes closed.

As a child of five, Grace witnesses her mother  kill her father and then commit suicide. She never thought of them as her parents and in her mind she calls them “the strangers”. She is then shuttled from foster home to foster home and through a tragedy comes to find the home she has always looked for.

A man that she has picked up the night before comes to see her very troubled,and once they realize what happened  between them last night, though awkward, is something they can deal with.  He begins to tell her something about his family and then abruptly leaves saying that he may call her the next day.  He never does because he is found stabbed to death and this sets Grace on a roller coaster of feelings and moods that lead to things that happened in her past as a foster child and other children she met.

Though Grace is a certified psychologist, in my mind she is not the most stable person but she is very likeable and the author gives us all of her back story so we know why she acts the way she does. I sincerely hope that Mr. Kellerman plans to write more books dealing with Grace Blades because he has made her one of my favorite book characters,!!!!!

I HIGHLY recommend this book.      I had the audio version and the narrator really brought the character to life.

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Over the Edge (Alex Delaware #3) by Jonathan Kellerman

Book Description:

Published: March 2, 2004

When the phone rings in the middle of the night, child psychologist Alex Delaware does not hesitate. Driving through the dream-lit San Fernando Valley, Alex rushes to Jamey Cadmus, the patient he had failed five years before-and who now calls with a bizarre cry for help. But by the time Alex reaches Canyon Oaks Psychiatric Hospital, Jamey is gone, surfacing a day later in the hands of the police, who believe Jamey is the infamous Lavender Slasher, a psychotic serial killer. Wooed by a high-powered attorney to build a defense, Alex will get a chance to do what he couldn’t five years ago. And when he peers into a family’s troubled history and Jamey’s brilliant, tormented mind, the psychologist puts himself at the heart of a high-profile case. Because Alex knows that in a realm of money, loss, and madness, something terrible pushed Jamie over the edge-or else someone is getting away with murder.

Review –

Although Alex Delaware is one of my favorite book characters, I have to say I found this volume boring.  There was so much dialogue and not really very much action and there was just too much description  of psychotic behaviors, drugs,and treatments that it took away,at least for me, from the story line. There are twists and turns and an unexpected reason for all the drama but on the whole I was disappointed. 

I have read many many of the Alex Delaware Series, but not from the early years so I think I will now find volumes one and two and see what they are like and hopefully there will be more action.

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Motive (Alex Delaware #30) by Jonathan Kellerman

Book Description

February 10, 2015
Jonathan Kellerman writes razor-sharp novels that cut to the quick. Now comes Motive, which pits psychologist Alex Delaware and homicide cop Milo Sturgis against a vicious criminal mind—the kind only Kellerman can bring to chilling life.Even having hundreds of closed cases to his credit can’t keep LAPD police lieutenant Milo Sturgis from agonizing over the crimes that don’t get solved—and the victims who go without justice. Victims like Katherine Hennepin, a young woman strangled and stabbed in her home. A single suspect with a solid alibi leads to a dead end—one even Alex Delaware’s expert insight can’t explain. The only thing to do is move on to the next murder case—because there’s always a next one.

This time the victim is Ursula Corey: a successful, attractive divorcée who’s been gunned down—not a robbery but an execution, a crime that smacks of simple, savage revenge. And along with that theoretical motive come two strong contenders for the role of perp: the dead woman’s business partner/ex-husband and her divorce lawyer/secret lover. But just as Alex and Milo think they’re zeroing in on the most likely suspect, a bizarre new clue stirs up eerie echoes of the unsolved Hennepin murder. And the discovery of yet another crime scene bearing the same taunting signature raises the specter of a serial killer on a mission, whose twisted method is exceeded only by his manipulative and cunning madness.

Review –

I love the friendship between Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis because of the way they play off of one another. They both have a dry sense of humor and  want the same thing – justice for victims.

This storyline is twisted and one I’ve never read before. The killer murders the victims, who are on the surface not related, and then leaves a meal for two at the crime scene or somewhere meaningful. The main suspect turns out to be wrong and the story goes into another direction and not until the end do we find out how the killer is.

Great story with well-defined characters and steady paced action. I highly recommend it.

**I had the audio book version and the narrator did a fantastic job.**

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Review –

Guilt (Alex Delaware #28) by Jonathan Kellerman

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Book Description

Release date: February 12, 2013 | Series: Alex Delaware
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Jonathan Kellerman’s “psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix” (Los Angeles Times), and this intensely thrilling blend has never been so powerful as in the acclaimed author’s new novel of murder and madness among the beautiful dreamers, seductive predators, and doomed innocents adrift in the glare of Southern California’s eternal sunshine.
A series of horrifying events occur in quick succession in the same upscale L.A. neighborhood. A backyard renovation unearths an infant’s body, buried sixty years ago. And soon thereafter in a nearby park, another disturbingly bizarre discovery is made not far from the body of a young woman shot in the head. Helping LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis to link these eerie incidents is brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware. But even the good doctor’s vast experience with matters both clinical and criminal might not be enough to cut down to the bone of this chilling case—and draw out the disturbing truth.
Backtracking six decades into the past stirs up tales of a beautiful nurse with a mystery lover, a handsome, wealthy doctor who seems too good to be true, and a hospital with a notorious reputation—all of them long gone, along with any records of a newborn, and destined for anonymity. But the specter of fame rears its head when the case unexpectedly twists in the direction of the highest echelons of celebrity privilege. Entering this sheltered world, Alex little imagines the macabre layer just below the surface—a decadent quagmire of unholy rituals and grisly sacrifice.
 Before their work is done, Alex and Milo, “the most original whodunit duo since Watson and Holmes” (Forbes), must confront a fanatically deranged mind of such monstrous cunning that even the most depraved madman would shudder.
Review –
You can’t beat an Alex Delaware novel and Jonathan Kellerman has done it again.  I had the audio version and the narrator, John Rubinstein, does an excellent job. If you’ve ever listened to an audio book you know that a narrator can make or break a book and with John Rubinstein you have no worries.  It’s a joy to listen and he makes the story come alive. The characters dynamic and the plot twists were an added bonus to a wonderful listening experience.
 

Evidence: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman

Product Description:

Publication Date: 2009       Series: Alex Delaware

In a half-built mansion in Los Angeles, a watchman stumbles onto the bodies of a young couple—murdered and left in a gruesome postmortem embrace.

Veteran homicide cop Milo Sturgis is shocked at the sight: a twisted crime that only Milo and psychologist Alex Delaware can hope to solve. While the female victim’s identity remains in question, her companion is ID’d as eco-friendly architect Desmond Backer, notorious for his power to seduce women. The deeper Milo and Alex dig for clues, the longer the list of suspects grows. But when the investigation veers suddenly in a startling direction, it’s the investigators who may wind up on the wrong end of a cornered predator’s final fury.

Review –

I was disappointed in this book because Alex Delaware played such a small part in the story line.  He wasn’t really needed and this should have been called a Milo Sturgis Novel. Also, there was too much dialogue and not enough action.  If I were rating this book I’d give it two and a half stars. Sorry, Mr. Kellerman.